The view from here
I’m sharing this story because I know, as travel lovers, we are all familiar with the ticking clock. We count down the hours until our next trip – and then we will time to slow down when we’re enjoying the last moments of a holiday. We’re constantly obsessing about taking time off work, finding enough time for family, looking at flight times, train times, bus times. Time, time, time.
When I was about 11 years old, I had a mild panic attack about the passing of time. I distinctly remember asking my mum some difficult, panic-ridden questions, like – ‘why can’t we just stop the clock for a few moments so I can get a handle on this thing?’
I don’t know what triggered my panic – maybe it was my Gran’s illness, or the death of a friend’s pet, or something I read in a book.
All I know is that I suddenly found the concept of time both terrifying and fascinating. My mum – slightly taken aback – offered some pragmatic advice.
“It is what it is.”
What else are you going to say to an existential 11-year-old? I couldn’t argue with that!
In all seriousness, I keep coming back to this advice. We spend so much time worrying about time! There’s not enough. There’s too much.
We kid ourselves that we can somehow control time, that we can bend it to our will, that if we keep a close eye on the clock then no minute will go to waste.
But what if we paused, took a deep breath, and acknowledged that “it is what it is”?
Measuring time is useful - until it's not useful.
It’s useful when you need to catch a plane, or meet a deadline, or when it’s cause for celebration, like an anniversary or a birthday.
It’s not useful when it’s cause for guilt and negative self-talk. I haven’t done enough. I’m not far ‘ahead’ enough. I’m too young. I’m too old. There’s not enough hours in the day.
We must take care not to conflate time with success. A 20-year relationship is not necessarily better or worse than a 2-year relationship. A 30-day holiday is not necessarily better or worse than a 3-day holiday. Things are what they are.
Last month, we celebrated an amazing milestone – 6 months of Travelher. I must admit, when this first came to my attention, my existential 11-year-old-self resurfaced.
My self-talk went a little like this:
Six months has gone so quickly! It feels just like yesterday that we launched. How can it be September already? There’s so much more we want to do. We’ve barely even scratched the surface of our dreams for Travelher…
Anxiety and impatience began to bubble in my chest. I felt a sense of urgency and a strong desire to do more, be more.
But then I paused. I took a deep breath. I reflected on our special website, on our supportive and growing community, about all that we’ve achieved in six (short!) months, and I felt a warm wave of peace and happiness wash over me.
I’m sharing this story because I know, as travel-lovers, we are all familiar with the ticking clock. We count down the hours until our next trip – and then we will time to slow down when we’re enjoying the last moments of a holiday. We’re constantly obsessing about taking time off work, finding enough time for family, looking at flight times, train times, bus times. Time, time, time.
And then… “It is what it is.”
The clock will keep ticking whether we look at it or not. The sun will continue to rise and set at its own pace. We must let go of our need to suffocate time with unrealistic milestones. You don’t need to get married by 25. You don’t need to have kids by 36. You don’t need to stay in a job for five years before you can move on. You don’t need to wait until you have saved $10,000 to travel the world.
Time is a blank canvas, gloriously untouched – the future is yours to create and re-create, over and over again. Time does not judge. Time has no expectations. Time is on your side. Don’t let your brain trick you into thinking otherwise.
Author - Jess O'Connor